Trekkers among 67 dead, rescue efforts ongoing after heavy rain in N. India

New Delhi, Oct 23 (EFE).- The death toll from heavy rains in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand rose to 67 on Saturday as rescue teams focused on a group of 11 trekkers who became trapped in the adverse weather, at least five of whom were confirmed dead.

Head of the disaster department in the state, Ridhim Aggarwal, told Efe that two of the 11 hikers, who were caught up in the heavy rain on October 18, were still missing.

Aggarwal added that a massive rescue operation has been deployed in the Lamkhaga pass, which connects the northern state of Himachal Pradesh with Uttarakhand.

Operations on the pass, which is some 5,000 meters above sea level, are complicated by the heavy snowfall and strong winds in the region.

India’s meteorological department said the weather was due to improve in Uttarakhand but an orange alert for strong rain remained in effect in neighboring Himachal Pradesh as well as Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and parts of Rajasthan.

 The southern Indian state of Kerala was also braced for heavy rain, although the current situation was calm, a source from the Kerala information department told Efe.

Flooding and landslides are common during the monsoon season in South Asia but the state of Kerala has been particularly hard hit in recent years.

Between May and August 2018, torrential rains, which caused the worst flooding in nearly a century in Kerala, caused at least 370 deaths, while a year later heavy rainfall left 76 people dead.EFE


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